Long Island and Chicken Harbour

Long Island and Chicken Harbour

Internet access has been limited lately so here is the first of a couple posts to come on the Bahamas to catch up.  A few days before Easter weekend we set sail from Mayaguana along with our friends from Laho and did an overnight sail to Clarence Town on Long Island.  Clarence Town is a quiant little town that we liked a lot, other than the anchorage which was a bit rolly in the brisk NE winds.  We hiked up the hill in town to the Catholic Church which is nestled with quite a view at the top.  The priest, who was orginally from the Bronx, saw us coming and opened up the church so we could take a look.

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We spent a few minutes on the steps taking in the view and enjoying the breeze.

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While there we got to see the well known mail boat come into the harbour.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Bahamas, outside of the Nassau area, the Bahamas are sparsely populated so you wont find fedex or overnight delivery services.  Instead, the mailboat makes a weekly stop to drop off food, fuel and other mail at the various towns.  So if you need fresh food, you really want to know what day the boat arrives so that you can do your shopping the next morning before the fresh stuff is all sold.

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Further in the harbour from Clarence Town is a big sand flat the dries out.  Magnus and I discovered it while trying to burn off some of his energy, so we went back to get Chrissy to see it too.

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By the time we made it back the tide was on its way in so instead of being dry we had a few inches of water instead.  Perfect for Magnus who could run and stay cool at the same time.

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We navigated the little channel through the flats and found a nice little cove.  One of the local families had set up there for the Easter weekend for a family camping trip, and some of the kids were attempting to sail along the deeper channel with a Laser sailboat.

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Our next sail took most of the day as we sailed north along the eastern shore of Long Island.  Some of the scenery on this windward side of the island was quite stunning.

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We rounded the northern most tip and sailed a couple of miles south to Calabash Bay.  Stunning beaches and crystal clear turquoise water.  We enjoyed the calm anchorage and some swimming for a couple of days.

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On shore I saw this beautiful white rock forming a natural retaining wall between the beach and trees.

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Magnus had definitely approved of the Bahamas and his daily spa trip lifestyle.

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Next up was a gentle downwind sail over to the Exuma Islands, with the stop being the infamous Georgetown.  Georgetown is a popular cruisers stop and the harbour can hold hundreds of boats.  It is also often referred to Chicken Harbour as many southbound boats doing the reverse of our trip towards the caribbean apparently get trapped here as from this point onwards the distances between stops increase and the easterly tradewinds make the trips longer, rougher and slower.   Plus with so many boats there is a large social scene and coordinated activities, so for those with 30 years on us, you will fit right in.  For the time of year that we arrived it also seems to be a popular stop for north bound boats and we saw a lot of european flags from boats that made an atlantic crossing a few months before and are now headed to visit the US east coast.

We visited the Chat ‘n Chill bar while we there with the well known post with distances to places around the globe.  Apparently, Georgetown is far from just about everywhere.  Zoom in on the picture and you will see that the Newfoundland is the opposite direction from Montreal, unless the Newfie that posted it just prefers the scenic route past the penguins first.

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Night time provides quite an interesting view with the constellation ‘anchor light’ on all sides.

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As we didn’t want to become another statistic of a cruiser who gets stuck in Georgetown as there are so many places to see we kept focused on getting the boat chores done.

Not my favourite tasks, but water is a necessity of life, so 3 trips later I had managed to fill the tank on Altera.  You really gain a strong perspective of appreciating and conserving your water when you have to lift everything you use.  Fortunately, the only other place we have had to replenish this way in our travels was Culebra, so we are not regretting not having a watermaker yet.

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While Chrissy took the dinghy to do laundry and grocery shop, I did an oil and filter change on the engine and then changed the primary and secondary fuel filters as well.  Admittedly, I had let the primary Racor filter go too long, but as the vacuum gauge showed no indication of the filter plugging I had let it go for about 500 engine hours.  Unfortunately draining the filter didn’t remove all the debris, so I unmounted the filter and disassembled it for a thorough cleaning.  Barring taking on bad fuel, we should be good for a while now.

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Of course we didn’t play hermit to the social scene entirely, and attended the happy hour one afternoon at the Chat n’ Chill restaurant and bar.  As you can see, someone really approves of the venue.  Maybe one day I’ll figure out why it is we get so much sand in the cockpit of the boat as well…  I should point out that the ribs at the bar were some of the best I’ve ever had.

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In the end our productive stay in Chicken Harbour totalled 3 nights and we were heading North through the Exuma chain on April 8th.

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